Zion’s Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan for Zion UCC, Arendtsville

 (Original Document adopted November 2007; Updated: 11/2008, 9/2010, 10/2011, 5/2012, 11/2012, 05/2015, 12/2015, 1/7/17)

I.  Vision Statement: Through the transforming power of Jesus Christ, we strive to be disciples and make disciples as we:

  • Worship God with all our heart, mind, and soul;
  •  Seek closer fellowship within the Body of Christ by being a church where our members find nurture and challenge;
  •  Grow in faith through study of scripture, prayer, and spiritual discipline;
  •  Serve our neighbors through civic engagement and by being a moral presence in the community;
  •   Witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ by bringing the light of Christ into the lives of others.

II.   Mission Statement: Called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we covenant to embody the love of God in word and action.

 III. Environmental Analysis:

 Arendtsville is a beautiful, historic town where many of its residents have roots that span many generations. Arendtsville is a community with changing demographics, and 20% is now Hispanic. There is little interface between Anglos and Hispanics. The population of Arendtsville is 852 (1% increase since plan established in 2007), with 101,434 (10% increase since plan established in 2007) in Adams County. Adams County is among the fastest growing counties in the state. There is major development pressure in the Upper Adams community and many long-time orchard owners face the decision to sell their land. Our members value our rural setting, but recognize that the area is changing fast with many new planned developments. The Gettysburg area attracts some 1.8 million visitors per year and the Arendtsville area sees a major influx of visitors for the festivals held at the South Mountain fairgrounds. We have a growing population of retirees moving into the area attracted by the quality of life, proximity to urban centers, and favorable retirement income tax laws. However, there is a lack of support services for our lower income elderly. We have issues with latch-key children in our community and a need for after school services. We do not have a center for teen activities other than the scout building. There are  no organized community programs for teens other than scouting.

IV.  Strengths and Growing Edges:

 Strengths—strong lay leadership, goal-directed congregation, heart for mission and service, great musical talent, good parenting modeled among congregation, generosity, fiscal discipline, and independent spirit. Lovely, well-maintained physical plant, excellent Sunday School and teachers, good relationship between pastor and parish, nice community in which we live, and the Zion family has pretty good communication in times of conflict..
Growing edges—core of over-extended lay leaders and committee members in the church, hard to change habits regarding worship-particularly in involving lay leadership, members find public faith witness challenging.  We struggle with evangelism. We are doing better at being a “praying” church, but this is still a growing edge. Zion needs to grow in terms of ministry programs for families, and add more small group programs. Zion has developed this strategic plan, but finds it difficult to utilize it during committee meetings/planning sessions.

V.  Assumptions:

 We want to grow in membership. An average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 175 could be accommodated without further expansion of sanctuary or parking lot. Our current ASA is 107. Significant growth may be possible with a second, non-traditional service, but this has been challenging to actualize. Some attempts have been made.

We want to remain at our current location and in our current facilities.

Within the life of this plan (3-5 years) we do not foresee hiring additional pastoral staff, although we have added a Christian Education coordinator.

We do not anticipate that Zion will have the ability to significantly increase the overall budget over the next 3-5 years. Zion will hopes to remain within budgetary balance.

We expect that Zion will maintain our property assets in order to meet the church’s needs. We keep up with the routine maintenance, and take pride in our church home.

VI.  Core Value Statements:

 1.  Worship: Zion values worship that is Spirit-led and Spirit-filled. In our worship program we honor our past and are open to God’s moving us into the future. We value preaching that is biblically based and applicable to daily life. We try to use a variety of musical expressions that appeal to different generations.

 Objective: Explore at least 2 changes to worship to increase outreach to others. Develop special themes that make it easier to invite non-attenders to worship, i.e. Teacher Sunday, etc.

Objective: Be much more proactive in inviting friends and neighbors to worship with us.

Objective: Explore 2 new formats for worship other than Sunday at 9 am.

Objective: To increase our worship attendance to an average of 135 per service week.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: To feature youth-led worship once a month.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: We now have an active worship committee that meets regularly to manage worship issues.

Accomplished Objective: Special services are part of our calendar such as Veteran’s Sunday, Scout Sunday, Reformation Sunday.
Possible strategies: podcast of service, sermon; change the worship times for Sunday worship, introducing 2 services on “church holidays” (Easter, Christmas)—for example an earlier “family” service on Christmas Eve, new hymnals, and a team empowered to select service music.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2.  Prayer: Zion values a culture of prayer that provides the foundation for our relationships with God and others, in which people of all ages gain confidence in their ability to pray. We covenant to look for new opportunities to pray with new vigor. It is our hope that we would continue to foster a culture of prayer here at Zion.

 Objective: Increase prayer chain membership by at least 10-20%

Objective: Develop a template for prayer during Sunday school for our children; during teacher orientation reinforce need to use prayer in curriculum materials.

Objective: All committees should open and close meetings with prayer; use of prayer when confronted with difficult decisions.

Objective: To have an annual sermon series on prayer

Objective: To have a yearly prayer educational series that might help develop lay leaders who are comfortable with public prayer

Objective: to engage in regular prayerful discernment regarding same sex marriage.

Objective: to develop the spiritual health of our congregation by encouraging personal devotions and prayer time. Offer resources (seminars, retreats, study guides, devotionals, etc) to congregation.
Accomplished Objective: Prayer chain formed

Accomplished Objective: children pray during Sunday School time.

Accomplished Objective: A group met to engage in the “Unbinding Your Soul” study. An outgrowth of that was the Community Soul group that met monthly, but has since been discontinued.  This would be a great program to get started again.

Strategies: add prayer template to monthly sheet for teacher, additional training for teachers, devotional/yearly prayer journal, encourage ushers to invite visitors to write prayers on sheet, increase silence time for prayer in worship, Sunday School children receiving prayer instruction, empower prayer chain to meet as a group, prayer retreats

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

3.  Strong Laity Leadership: We seek to foster and develop servant leadership among the laity. We celebrate the strong lay leadership that has always existed here at Zion. We promote the understanding that committee leadership is part of our overall spiritual formation.

 Objective: Each committee will add at least 1 new member/year. Consistory will continue to recruit members who have not previously served, from a variety of age groups.

Objective: At least 2 youth involved in day to day church functioning through committee involvement.

Objective: Have delegates (in addition to Pastor) at all wider church events: Gettysburg Association Annual Meeting, PCC Annual Meeting, and events such as ordinations and ecclesiastical councils.

Objective: A monthly update in newsletter outlining wider church events

Objective: Identify the wider church events that are to be attended yearly.
Accomplished/Continuing Objective: Partnering in VBS (w/ Trinity) with staffing of at least two rotation areas (such as crafts or games). Partnering with Upper Adams Christians Together (UACT) to develop lay leadership in an ecumenical partnership.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: A re-energized membership committee that helps each member to connect his or her talents with ministry.
Accomplished Objective: Zion now has lay leaders on the UACT (Upper Adams Christians Together) Executive Committee of John’s Meals.

Strategies: elect delegates at Zion Annual Meeting to attend wider church meetings, emphasize the availability of programs like the summer academy at Lancaster Seminary, and sending youth to leadership programs through Conference or Lancaster Seminary

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

4.  Community: Zion provides a spiritual foundation from which our members go forth to serve in the community. Our moral presence, civic engagement, and outreach in the community is based on our love of Christ and one another. Our overall goal is to continually seek new projects that match Zion’s strengths with community needs. Zion strives to reach seekers and those without a church home in the Upper Adams community as taught by Matthew 28 and the Great Commission.

 Objective: Develop at least 1 new outreach project yearly that meets an unmet need in our community.
Objective: continue to seek opportunities for community outreach that enables us to share our faith.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: We worked toward a balance in our mission outreach that includes national  as well as local initiatives.
Accomplished/Continuing Objective: We engage in several Veteran’s Outreach projects yearly such as the Healing Waters Fly Fishing event.

Accomplished Objective: saw unmet needs for alleviating food insecurity among our local school children and developed John’s Meals program.
Accomplished Objective: Became a partner with other local UCC churches to send our youth on an annual mission trip with Reach Work Camps.
Strategies: Consider summertime meal outreach for those who would utilize school year breakfasts/lunch, develop opportunities for an adult summer mission trip, continue to seek partnerships in the community such as with HACC and SCCAP.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

5. Family: Families are the cornerstone of our church. We strive to strengthen and empower families within our church and community. We define families as our nuclear, extended, and church families.

 Objective: Seminars of interest to families such as strategies for internet safety, budgeting, the spiritual development of children, etc.

Objective: Identify ways that Zion can help families strengthen their relationship with God and within the family itself.

Objective: Develop steering team for family needs

Objective: Cottage meetings, especially for parents of SS-age children.

Objective: Offer quarterly family events
Accomplished/Continuing Objective: We keep a freezer stocked with frozen soup and breads, and frozen meals to share in times of household need.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: we are working with UACT to hire a Youth Coordinator for Upper Adams.

Accomplished Objective: Sunday School field trip to Under the Horizon pottery studio. We plan an annual  skating outing in the fall as part of Rally activities.

Accomplished Objective: we have a core of youth excited about attending the Reach mission trip annually.
Strategies: ascertain worship needs (including nursery staffing) that are unique to families with young children. What are the barriers to regular worship attendance for young families? Continue to look for ways to assist families in understanding the spiritual development of children. How can we assist families that are squeezed between generations by caretaking for an older and a younger generation?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………
6. Stewardship: Zion believes that God calls us as stewards and caretakers of the earth, our church property and other Zion assets, through our time, talents, and personal finances.

 Objective: Explore how Zion uses its physical space; how to improve upon non-productive space and how it can be used better to support our programs.

Objective: determine if Zion should expand its property holdings to include the neighboring property

Objective: To have our income match our expenses!

Objective: To develop in our members an understanding that generous giving is part of a healthy spirituality.

Objective: To foster a sense of our role in the wider church, and the need to participate in its financial health.

Objective: to develop a realistic budget that is both faithful and sustainable.

Objective:  to renovate/re-decorate fellowship hall into a warm and inviting space that can serve a variety of needs.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: Developed a property committee that meets regularly and deals with preventive maintenance issues, identifies problems that need correction, and who assist the Consistory rep. with decisions about building upkeep.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: Develop data base and process to manage capital and regular maintenance issues: Furnace, Stained Glass windows, Zion House Renovations, etc.

Accomplished Objective: secured a grant to renovate upstairs restroom into all-accessible. Secured a grant for covers on our stained glass windows.

Accomplished Objective: We are a “Five for Five” church that participates in all five special UCC offerings.

Accomplished Objective: fellowship hall was renovated in the summer of 2016.
Strategies: Hold a seminar on wills and trusts to encourage members to include Zion in their estate planning, use “Tippers into Tithers” programming, monthly statement prints, Hold a seminar that explores “Green” operations/sustainable living, Brainstorming available spaces for youth/community ministries and the resources (i.e. physical space), development of stewardship committee. To hold annual fundraisers for certain aspects of the church budget, such as the capital improvement fund.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………
7.  Christian Education: Zion encourages life-long learning that equips us for discipleship and enables us to reach others about the life of faith. We promote biblical literacy among children and adults.

Objective: Interest volunteers in helping with the CE music program.

Objective: Increase biblical literacy among our adult members through Sunday School and weekly bible study attendance.

Objective: Develop an enthusiasm for life -long Christian growth that results in demand for new study groups and learning opportunities.

Objective: Stronger connection between Sunday School and worship.

Accomplished Objective: We participate in joint activities with UACT.
Accomplished/Continuing Objective: We now have excellent participation in the rotational model (K-6) for Christian Education with over 30 children involved.

Accomplished Objective: Sunday School children are practicing songs and singing in worship once a month.
Srategies: CEST should review program and add at least one goal yearly to strategic plan. Bring guest speakers to Zion and encourage attendance at learning events, lectures, etc. Partner with neighbor churches in cooperative CE programs. Have youth assist regularly with worship.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………
8.  Music:  Zion strives to honor and worship God through the art of vocal and instrumental music, while growing an appreciation and understanding of the ways in which music informs and enhances worship.

Objective: Develop a cohesive program to assist our young people to become church musicians through intentional worship opportunities, scholarship money, etc.

Objective: To form an instrumental or team of musicians group to help serve as worship leaders for worship (TBD depending on worship changes, additions).

Objective: Purchase a new hymnal for Zion.

Objective: develop a team to meet quarterly and select service music.

Accomplished objective: purchased a new hymnal to expand our musical range.

Accomplished/Continuing Objective: Children sing in worship approx. 6x/year.

Accomplished/continuing objective: children are playing chimes to accompany the adult choir.

Strategies: Looking into asking local young people from the High School music program to provide some of the accompaniment, we would move towards a more conscious blend of traditional and contemporary hymns of various styles, work towards having a wider group of musicians to provide instrumental accompaniment…either guest musicians or members. Have the children using chimes and percussion instruments more often, as part of the regular music program.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

9.  Fellowship: Zion’s fellowship is a Christ-like companionship in times of recreation, joy, and sorrow.

Objective: Monthly fellowship activities, including family friendly options.
Objective: Use small group fellowship to grow our church, and develop 1 new small group per year

Objective: Reformat the fellowship time between church and SS to be more inclusive and welcoming. Find a location for it!

Objective: Have a visible presence in the community and be known as a welcoming, inviting, fellowship that actively seeks engagement with neighbors.
Objective: to grow in our understanding of the issues surrounding same sex marriage, in a way that will permit a faithful decision about our wedding policy.

Accomplished Objective: Hot dog roasts during the summer months at our new firepit.
Accomplished Objective: We have a book group, South Mountain Ramblers hiking group, and a knitting group.
Strategies: continue to seek small group opportunities. Find ways to promote outings, and a way to subsidize participation for those who can’t afford the fees. Reach out to neighbors in Aville and invite them to our fellowship events. Continue to be open to the moving of the Spirit as we come to terms with same gender marriage and the church.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Objectives for 2017

 1.  Sign up more members to give their offering through the EFT program.

2. Develop and implement a fund-raising policy with the goal of strengthening the financial position of the church.

  • 2 main events per year
  • Have one fund-raiser per year that is a sustainable, annual event; and one new fundraiser each year
  • Fund raising ideas from congregation should be reviewed by Consistory to ensure coordination with overall goals
  • Each fund-raiser should have a significant “return on investment” in terms of resources of time and energy expended

3. The Finance Committee will be asked to improve and enhance the capital improvement fund and review the investment policy and investment instrument

4. The Mission Committee will be asked to look for another Veteran’s Project, to replace the flyfishing event that is no longer being held.

5. The Fellowship Committee will be asked to develop some new events to which we can invite community friends.

6. The Property Committee will be asked to develop a list of immediate and future needs, and develop a plan for how to handle day to day needs that arise.